Transparency as a Key to Successful Partnership

I believe in teamwork, based on passion, trust and respect…

When the new project starts, every good team should believe and believes in its success. In reverse order of this statement we can say that every project success requires a good team. So, the question is how to become a good team and what are the attributes?

Trust starts with transparency

It is known that in software development the stackholders/business side is privileged to choose the teams for their projects. They do the learning curve of developer's profiles, see their ratings, study team's previous experience, form their impression on the basis of sales managers feedback etc. So these are the baby steps the client does to get to know his team and this is the first moment when he starts to build his expectations of team's performance. The team, on the contrary, doesn’t have chance to get acquainted with the client beforehand, they have to accept him as he is and work together on successful and perfectly balanced partnership. It is a recognized truth that no matter which type of relationship you are in, it will be successful when based on trust. In development, trust between client and the team, is a result of a long and meticulous process.

One of the most powerful instruments for building trust is transparency. Let's define "transparency" within the context of development.

Transparency is the ability to see what is truly happening to the entire or any part of the project at any point in time, under any circumstance, in any level of detail.

Establishing and maintaining trust in working relationships

Now, we'll check also the trust growth process on Transparency-Trust Matrix:

Transparency-Trust Matrix

The A point marks the start of the project, where the team and the client are getting to know each other and building trust. The team is motivated to involve the client in the development process and maintain transparency through daily communication and shared planning. This stage can be compared to the courting stage in romantic relationships.

Moving to point B, the client starts to show some signs of trust, but it is still weak and doubtful. Through transparency and successful achievements, the team reaches point C, where the client fully trusts the team and is ready to move forward together.

However, there are moments when the client may slip away and become less involved in the process. This is the period when the team may interpret the client's behavior as a sign of trust and become complacent. This leads to point D, where the client's trust is at its maximum, but the team's communication and performance may suffer. Any mistake or failure at this point can be crucial and lead back to point A.


Therefore, it is worth to say that the most effective collaboration is at C point. From C point we can move down to point B but it is not that critical any more. Yes, consistent transparency is a plod but it is definitely worth to go through. Often it requires a lot of extra efforts, like when you try to talk sense into client to use this simpler scenario for all good reasons but he always tends to complexity. But staying visible and comprehensible to your client prevents the partnership aggravation.

Along with trust we also get some benefits for ourselves:

  • before making up some extra fantastic feature for the project, the client will ask your advice first and everyone will agree it is easier to discuss together the features than dealing with clients' pies in the sky;
  • client's trust will reward you with interesting and nontrivial assignments;
  • he will recommend you to his partners;
  • he will take your side in case you'll need advocacy (if you work with organisation for example);
  • your job will be paid in time and without long discussions.

The importance of transparency in project management for IT teams cannot be overestimated. The result of perfectly balanced transparency and trust is respect.